What is an apicoectomy?
In some instances, a root canal alone is not enough to save the tooth, and the endodontist will suggest endodontic surgery. Endodontic surgery is often used to find small fractures or hidden canals which were not identified on x-rays or in previous treatments. There are several types of surgical procedures which are performed to save a tooth, though the most common are the apicoectomy. Also called a root-end resection, an apicoectomy is needed when swelling, or infection continues to be present in the bony tissues near the end of the tooth following root canal therapy.
What happens during an apicoectomy?
During this microsurgical procedure, the endodontist creates a small opening in the gum tissue near the affected tooth. Through this opening, the endodontist can view the underlying bone and remove any damaged or infected tissue. The very end of the affected root is also extracted. A small filling is usually placed at the end of the root to seal it up. A few stitches or sutures are used to close the opening and help it to heal. Over the next few months, the bone will heal around the root’s end. Local anesthetics are used to make the procedure more comfortable, and most patients can return to their normal activities the following day. Discomfort following the procedure is typically mild.
Will the procedure hurt?
While local anesthetics are used, patients may experience some discomfort or slight swelling during the healing period. This is expected for any surgical procedure. The endodontist will suggest appropriate pain relievers minimize discomfort. The endodontist will also provide patients with specific postoperative instructions. If patients have questions after the procedure, or if there is pain which is not responding to medication, call the endodontist. The endodontist will also be happy to discuss the expected recovery times with all patients.
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